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Anne Lindner
 

Ready to Take the Plunge

7 January 2003

As more and more U.S. states turn to lotteries to fill budget holes, many in the gaming community are waiting for state lotteries to offer ticket sales online.

One company, Games Inc., has a software infrastructure in place and is waiting for the time when online tickets sales become legal. The company, which changed its name from Colley Corp. on Dec. 20, operates a handful of promotional Web sites, including lottery.com, cards.com and skillmoney.com.


"We're as ready to go as we can possibly be without hooking directly to the legacy systems..."
- Roger W. Ach
Games Inc.

The lottery.com site, said Games Inc. CEO Roger W. Ach, for now only offers information on winning numbers and jackpots for state lotteries. It also supplies that information to many of the major Internet portals, including AOL's Ditigal Cities, MSN, InfoSpace and Yahoo! Ach said he thinks it is only a matter of time before state governments authorize the sale of lottery tickets over the Internet.

"(The lottery news offered on lottery.com) is only a place keeper for the time, which we feel is rapidly approaching, when state governments will allow their players to do the same things with their state lotteries that their players are currently doing with every other sort of state function, from licensing online to, in many states, you can file a lawsuit online," Ach said.

Ach said the software his company built will someday enable people to purchase lottery tickets--either through lottery.com or any of the portals that carry its lottery news and winning numbers.

"We're as ready to go as we can possibly be without hooking directly to the legacy systems, which are operated by those contractors that operate the state governments' lottery systems today," Ach said.

Ach said several states are interested in the product, although he wouldn't go so far as to say which states.

"I think it's safe to say, with all good humor, that virtually every state to whom we've talked would like to be the second, but some brave and forward-looking state out of a half a dozen will be the first, and then everybody else can be second," he said.

One insider in the state lottery industry agreed with Ach's feeling that U.S. states are holding back, not wanting to be the first to take the plunge.

"I think there's probably interest out there," said the insider, who wanted to remain anonymous, "but there are so many variables now that I think it's going to be a situation where one state, no matter whether it's part of a multi-state group or a state that's an individual lottery, would need to test the waters before anyone else would jump in."

A lawyer for Scientific Games concurred. Paul Hugel, who is an attorney for the lottery services company, said he is not aware of any state that has authorized online lottery tickets or is even close to doing so.

"I know some of the states have looked into the possibility of doing online scratch-off games, and some people have looked at it, but you run into all sorts of problems about (things like) how do you prevent people from out of state from accessing it," he said. "So there's no one who has really looked at it and no state that has implemented it with traditional lottery tickets online, and I don't know any states that have made steps in that direction."

Ready to Take the Plunge is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner